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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  June 20, 2017 9:00am-10:01am PDT

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>> i feel some of you don't need encouragement to do that but thank you nonetheless. time for andrea mitchell on "andrea mitchell reports". >> right now, outrage, anger across america, as american college student otto warmbier dies after being sent back from north korea in a coma. with three americans still illegally detained there, president trump issues a warning to the dictator, he once called a smart cookie. today pointing the finger at the obama administration. >> it is a total disgrace what happened to otto. that should never, ever be allowed to happen. and frankly if he were brought home sooner, i think the result would have been a lot different. he should have been brought home that same day. the result would have been a lot different. tuesday special, voters in georgia's 6th district are heading to the polls in the most expensive congressional race in american history. at stake for democrats, a chance
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to grab an historically republican seat. for republicans, the chance to say they can win despite donald trump's controversies. >> what would you say to president trump today? >> i thank him for his support. i thank the voters of the 6th district for their support. special elections are called special for a reason. this is essentially a jump ball. >> there are many in this community, myself among them, deep concerns about the direction of things in washington, about the integrity and the competence of this administration. >> and under the cover of darkness, senate democrats pull an all nighter in what could be a fruitless attempt to stop the republicans' secret health care bill. >> there is only one reason why republicans are doing this, they're ashamed of their bill. >> obamacare is collapsing around us, and the american people are desperately searching for relief. >> with a vote set for next week, even some republicans are still waiting for the big reveal. >> have you seen the republican
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health care bill? >> i have not. have you? and good day. i'm andrea mitchell in washington. today, the state department is demanding the release of three americans still detained in north korea after the death of 22-year-old otto warmbier, home in ohio. the university of virginia student was imprisoned there for 17 months in north korea, warmbier's parents announcing yesterday afternoon their son had died at a cincinnati hospital, quote, completing his journey home. after returning to the u.s. last week in a coma, president trump and the oval office moments ago. >> i spoke with his family, his family is incredible what they have gone through. but he should have been brought home a long time ago. thank you, all, very much. >> his heart broken parents are blaming the rogue regime saying the awful torturous it is treatment at the hands of the north koreans ensured that no
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otherutcome wassible. some members of congress are calling for a ban on all travel to the hermit kingdom. blake mccoy and kristen welker. kristen, first to you, the president today again as the white house did last week, blaming the obama administration. that said, strong pushback from john kerry saying that he had been negotiating for two years over this. and for some of the other detainees as well. and the other piece of it is that we have now learned from new reporting that the trump white house canceled a meeting with the north koreans in february. a negotiating session over warmbier after the regime had murdered kim jo jong-un's stepbrother in malaysia. it is a lot more complicated than people are saying. >> it is a lot more complicated, andrea, and there has been a strong pushback from the obama
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administration against that narrative, that they weren't doing enough to try to bring him home. the question is, for this white house now, what will the next steps be? i was here when this news broke yesterday, i can tell you the top officials here were very solemn, somber, angry, some of them -- one top official telling me this is a big, big deal. so right now, the trump administration trying to determine what its next steps will be, will that come in the form of sanctions, certainly we would anticipate that they will try to lean on the chinese to ramp up pressure on north korea to release those three remaining american citizens who are currently being detained there. of course, president trump has continued to say that all options are on the table when it comes to north korea. that in reaction to its recent provocations, but this certainly ups e ante. secretary of state rex tillerson set to meet with the chinese tomorrow and then of course president trump will be meeting with the leader of south korea
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next week. so this is a topic that will undoubtedly be at the forefront, but, again, andrea, the question is, what specifically can they do, what steps can be taken to go beyond some of the tough talk. and for president trump, it is difficult, because, of course if you go back and listen to some of his past rhetoric, he has said he would be honored it meet with the leader of north korea. and so now he's, of course, changing his tune when it comes to that country, that kingdom, that leader, but what will he be doing, what can he do to go beyond his tough talk. that's going to be the tough question for him, andrea. >> and blake mccoy, in cincinnati, the parents last week at their news conference certainly suggested that they held the obama administration responsible and were praising the trump white house for bringing their son home. have they said more today aside from the heart broken statement they released last night?
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>> the family has not released any new information, any new statements since the one yesterday, announcing their son's death. but we can tell you that today that there will be an autopsy on otto warmbier's body. hamilton county coroner decided to accept the case, which could shed more light on a cause of death and perhaps what caused that initial brain injury that led to his unresponsive state. remember, the north koreans said that he came down with botulism and fell into a coma about a year ago after being given a sleeping pill, but doctors here at the university of cincinnati medical center say ty foundo evidence of botulism. and the family in that statement yesterday did not release a cause of death. some other new information that we're getting today, the tour group that warmbier was traveling with said they will no longer take u.s. citizens into that country, saying that the risk has simply become too high. right now the state department warns against americans traveling there, but it is not banned outright which could be a change we see from the trump administration going forward.
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>> thank you for that, blake. if we have it, i would love to share with our viewers, a picture, a selfie, taken on june 9th, that tour group, based in china, was still bringing travelers to north korea and they posted on twitter a selfie on june 9th. even at the height of the controversy over trying to bring back otto warmbier, they were still taking people there, now they say they won't, if we don't have that now, we'll get it for you later in the program. rod rosenstein was with attorney general sessions at an event in maryland today, and the deputy attorney general spoke about otto warmbier. >> it turned out otto did not really make it home. hard labor in north korea means torture. otto was sent home after about 18 months with brain damage. and yesterday brought the tragic news of otto's death. north korea will not hold
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anybody accountable for otto's death, it is a totalitarian government with no concept of the rule of law. no civil rights. no due process. no justice. >> kristen welker, you sense an anger and frustrationompletely understandable on the part of white house. and we know that the preside after the chemical deaths in syria reacted by sending cruise missiles in and that people are saying he is, you know, want to do something. but with when you deal with north korea, military -- >> it becomes a lot more complicated, andrea, because, of course, they had all of these provocations in recent months. the united states thinks that they are closer to developing an icbm, a nuclear weapon that could potentially reach the united states. and so that becomes a whole lot more complicated. but also complicated for its neighbors in the region. south korea effectively saying,
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look, that is not what we -- would like to see, as an initial first step, expressing some concern about that, because they are so close to north korea, because they could bear the brunt of any type of military action. so this is something that the trump administration has said is on the table, but it is really a last resort, andrea, their policy has really been china first, leaning on china to try to take the lead on that. will that strategy actually become more effective than it has been? >> we have three other americans still there, we don't know what their fate is. i want to show you now that picture, taken on june 9th, from this group, the young pioneers group, a touring group, and this is what they called their selfie that was taken, you know, only a week and a half ago, still taking people there. we don't know if any of these young people are americans.
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but think what is on the table ght now is a total ban on travel to north korea. and questions to this tour group, why are they still taking people there? blake mccoy, and kristen welker at the white house, thank you both so much. joining me to talk more about all of this is democratic senator chris kuhns on the foreign relations judiciary and appropriations committees, a lot on your plate today. let's start with north korea. what is the rational for letting americans travel to north korea when this is the kind of thing that they will do? >> andrea, after this tragedy, after this assault on an american by north korea, which as you pointed out will be very hard for us to hold them accountable for in any specific and concrete way, i question why anyone would be continuing to run groups to take students, to take exchange programs into north korea. this assault on otto warmbier, by the north koreans, in their custody, that led to his death,
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has been called out by a number of my colleagues, republicans and democrats, here in the senate today, as tantamount to murder of an american citizen, i am encouraged we're calling for, pressing for the release of the three remaining americans in north korean custody. but this just highlights the fact that we don't have a functioning strategy. at the same time that the trump administration has urged all of us here in the senate, remind you they brought the entire senate over to the white house to brief us on their strategy with north korea. and they urged us to join them in creating more and more pressure on china for china to take tough action against north korea. but we're also currently considering a budget proposal from the trump administration that would slash the funding for our diplomats around the world by a third. that's going to make it very difficult for us to actually carry through on a strategy that relies on encouraging our allies and our partners around the world to join us in impoedzing sanctions, and increasing pressure on the north korean regime. >> i want to play a little bit
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of an audio clip from bloomburg news on may 1st, the president speaking about being willing to open kim jong-un to washington, to a meeting in the oval office. >> if it would be appropriate for me to meet with him, i would absolutely, i would be honored to do it. >> senator, there may have been a signal intended, we can't know that because almost shortly afterwards there was a meeting in oslo between ambassador joe young from the state department and the north koreans, i believe madam choi, their north korean nuclear negotiator. there had been back channel negotiations not only by this administration, ordered by the president in february, but also according to secretary kerry, for months at least a year preceding that. so we don't know if this was a signal. but the president seems to be
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running hot and cold on north korea. >> that's right. andrea, one of the challenges of international diplomacy and of working closely with our allies in the era of president trump is his unpredictability. he has taken not slightly different positions on important issues, not a little hot, a little cold, but wildly different positions on things like the one china policy, our support for japan and south korea, ourngagement wi nato, our comtment t article five, first as a candidate, then during the transition, then in his early months as president. president trump has taken significantly different positions on central issues to u.s. foreign policy. i was recently at a regional security conference, in singapore, with senator mccain, senator barroso, republican colleagues, and we heard from a dozen of our allies and partners in the region that this unpredictability, this uncertainty about exactly where we're going to come down, because of president trump's shifting positions and statements, is making it harder for us to project strength and
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to show a clear direction and a clear determination in standing up to the threat from north korea, in standing up to russia's intervention and our last presidential election, and in charting some clear path forward in syria, very difficult and conflicted battle space right now. >> senator, i want to ask you about russia, because the u.s. and russia have gone up against each other in syria now and today the russians buzzed one of our surveillance planes over the baltics, yesterday, they said they were cutting off the hot line, the deconfliction line because we shot down a syrian plane. this is really heating up. what are your concerns? >> i'm very concerned that we don't have a strategy yet from the trump administration, we had a bipartisan hearing earlier today, on foreign relations to look at an thoorauthorization o use of military force that would focus our work on isis. these recent incidents where
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american pilots shot down, a drone shot down a syrian assad regime russian fighter jet, they have heightened the tension. i'm gravely concerned that we may be slipping into a hot war with assad's forces, with iran or with russia. and we need a clear strategy from the trump administration, both for how we're going to move forward in fighting isis on the ground, in syria, and for what our strategy is in afghanistan, and in both of these places there are secondary risks with regard to russia if we don't have clear lines of understanding and clear lines of authority. congress needs to step up and do its job in getting a modernized authorization for military force, but that authorization should only be coming once we have a clear strategy from the admistration. >> and i know you have got to go, i got to go. just asking every senator i run into, have you seen the senate health care bill yet? >> no. and that is the biggest news here on the hill. that the context, the content of
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the republican health care bill, their attempt at repeal and replace for obamacare is being kept secret from every democrat and some republicans. the idea that this big and important bill would be rolled out in a last minute secret reveal is more reminiscent of a trump reality tv show than a regular order. and it doesn't have to be this way. when the affordable care act was passed, there were weeks of hearings at the committee level, more than 150 republican amendments accepted into the bill, as it worked its way through regular order, democrats stand ready to work with republicans to address the challenges, the problems with the affordable care act, we should be working on this in an open and bipartisan way rather than having the republicans trying to jam through a secret bill that their own members don't even know about, and that president trump recently denounced the house version as being mean. i think there are real concerns from my state and folks all over the country about what is hidden in this secret bill. >> thank you very much, senator kuhns. always a pleasure. coming up, popularity contest,
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is today's special congressional election in georgia really a referendum on the man live at 1600 pennsylvania avenue? you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc.
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i'm gonna just go back to doing what i was doing. find your awesome with the xfinity x1 voice remote. today's special election in georgia's 6th congressional district. it is the most expensive house race in history. >> more than 140,000 people have alreadyoted earl unheard of for an off year congressional
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race. >> it is, i think, the potentially the most politica y consequential election. >> it would be symbolic for democrats if they can pick off a congressional district in georgia. >> all eyes on georgia. the polls open for more than five hours. and democrat john ossoff and karen handel are facing off in that special election for a seat vacated by health and human services secretary tom price. president trump won the district, which for decades had been overwhelmingly republican, by a slim one-point margin, giving democrats hope initially. real clear politics average of recent polling shows just how close this race is going to be going into today's vote. the race is a top political priority for president trump, he fired off six tweets in the last two days alone slamming ossoff and supporting handel. joining me is msnbc's garrett haak from the 6th district and
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steve kornacki. what are you hearing, it is a random poll, but we're interested from hearing from voters on election day? >> right, unscientific, but we're seeing ossoff voters more fired up, more energetic. democrats saying they have been chomping at the bit, waiting for an opportunity to maybe make a difference in what has been a very conservative district for the lafst three and a half decades. we're hearing from some voters who say they aren't the people who typically come out for a special election, they switch back and forth between the parties, lining up behind ossoff. at the end of the day, republicans are confident they have the math on their side, there are just more republicans than democrats or independents in this district. and i did talk to a number of republicans who said, look, they were going to pull the lever for karen handel because she is a republican, they want to see that republican majority in the house continue to do their work and that's enough for them to stand by and keep voting. the other thing i heard, andrea, from a lot of folks, real cynicism about the amount of
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money being spent in this one house race. take a listen to some of the voters. >> can a democrat win here? >> they seem to think they can. i suppose it is possible if you throw millions and millions and millions of dollars at it. >> the amount of money being poured into this is criminal from the perspective of that advertising doesn't really do much for people. >> i've never seen this much. phone calls, ads, everything. but it is a shame we have to spend that much money on politics. >> and i think that second voter sort of nails it, the idea that this race has been so exposed, the idea that any advertising at this point is going to change any of the few minds left to be made up seems a bit far fetched. >> and in fact one of those advertise s from a political action, political action group, we won't show it, it showed steve scalise on a stretcher coming off the baseball field and tried to blame democrats for
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that outrage. so there has been a lot of mean talk in there. >> yeah, that particular ad, andrea, third party ad, condemned by both parties. i can tell you, it is not in heavy rotation here, a relatively small ad buy. while it is getting a lot of talk, it is not something that people are seeing on their televisions down here. >> well, good for that. thank you, garrett. joining us in new york is steve kornacki at the board. steve, this district, is it a test of donald trump or unique factors to the georgia 6th? >> we have already seen the trump effect in georgia 6th last year. he carried this district, you showed it there, by a single point, the significance there just four years earlier, mitt romney, he won it by more than 20. this say district that is chalk full, we talked about it last year, the college educated white voters, suburbanites, white collar professionals, these are the type of traditional republican voters who had issues with trump, really from the beginning of his campaign this is the kind of district where
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democrats see opportunity. but the other reason democrats see opportunity here and elsewhere nationally, it is donald trump and what happened while he's been president. we talk about his approval rating, republicans, they go into the midterms, come into this election today with an advantage here in the house, they control the house. we know that. donald trump's approval rating is 38%. what does history tell us about what -- an approval rating like this could mean for a party in the dterm election. let's take a closerook at the relationship between a president approval rating and how that president's party does in midterm elections. on the one end of it, you have this, these are the presidents who defied history, george w. bush, year after 9/11, 2002, he was at 63% on election day. his party actually gains seats, very, very rare for the president's party to gain seats in a midterm. bill clinton pulled it off, when the million mill monica lewinsk playing out. voters sided with clinton and
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did so on election day too. george h.w. bush, after the fall of the berlin wall, his party lost seats, but not that many. that's not where donald trump is with his approval rating this is where donald trump is with his approval rating of 38% now, puts him in this kind of company, in history has not been kind to presidents with this kind of approval rating in midterm elections. you see it is all red ink here all losses, some historic in scale. 1994, bill clinton lost 54 seats, his democrats did, they called that the republican revolution. that brought newt gingrich to power. newt gingrich, by the way, from the same congressional election we're having the election today. a couple of years ago, president obama, down at 40%, his party was already in the minority in the house, they lost more seats and they lost control of the senate in 2014 as well. democrats want to put a win on the board near georgia. they have come close but not close enough in some of the other ones. they want to prove they can do it. they want to prove they can win this kind of district.
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the demographics, but they want to be able to say, hey, we won tonight, and that goes to show you that donald trump is in this category of president and it is going to lead to this kind of result in the 2018 midterms. steve kornacki, you got it all covered. and just a point about that -- the demographic, courtesy of our friend chuck todd, of the ten districts around the country, where more than 50% are college educated, there is only one district of those ten that is t georgia 6th, a republican district. that's what we're talking about here. steve kornacki, thank you so much. garrett haak in georgia. coming up, lunch break, a group of senate democrats taking a midday field trip to the congressional budget office. where else would you want to have lunch? they're hoping to get a glimpse of the secret republican health care bill. got to believe it. this after waging an all night battle against that bill. this was then congressman mike
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for months now the entire senate republican conference has been active and engaged on legislation to move beyond the failures of obamacare and bring relief to the american people. we have had numerous productive discussions on the way forward. >> that's what he says today. but one of his most important chairman, bob corker, told a very different story today on morning joe. >> have you seen the republican health care bill? >> i have not. have you? >> i have not. >> my understanding is i'll see it on thursday. i think we have an all senators meeting, all republican senators meeting tomorrow to begin talking about it a little bit more deeply. >> joining me now i michael steele, republican strategist, former spokesman for john boehner who had complaints about another health care vote when
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nancy pelosi was in charge on the house side. john mccain has just spoken out about this. let's watch. i think we have that. >> we used to complain like hell and the democrats ran the affordable care act. now they're doing the same thing. >> so -- >> this is a normal part of the process. aides and senators work behind the scenes on the bill before it is revealed. >> women are overrepresented and the people who suffer from health care -- >> that's why every senator, man, woman, white, black, latino, will have the opportunity to offer amendments before this bill passes. >> the question that chuck schumer asked last night of the leader was, we'll get ten hours to look at it and counterfeit our amendments and didn't get an answer to that. >> there will be a cbo score
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before the bill is voted on. is this is a fairly normal part of the process at this stage. >> let me say, this is not really normal to see a bill of this -- you're laughing. you can't even keep a straight face about this. this is normal? to not have a single hearing. >> the efforts to repeal and replace obamacare started before the bill even passed. >> this is taking it out of base line, the house bill. this is a different product. let's -- >> with the house bill, which went through committee, which passed on the house floor and now going to the senate for further consideration. >> there is a man you used to work for, john boehner, let me just let you revisit john boehner back in 2010. >> look at how this bill was written. can you say it was done openly? with transparency and accountability? without back room deals and struck behind closed doors? hidden from the people?
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hell no you can't! have you read the bill? haveou read the reconciliation bill? have you read t managers amendment? hell no you haven't! >> a great speech. >> it was a great speech. it was a great moment. you know it. >> absolutely. >> now you got the travesty and photo opportunity of the senate democrats, in order to see what is in the bill, taking taxi and ubers and whatever, maybe walking, to get over to the congressional budget office and try to get to see what is in the bill -- >> they could have saved their pun because they'll have plenty of time to see the cbo score before there are any votes. >> not until tomorrow. >> not today. >> and the vote is next week before the july 4th recess. >> that's what they're apparently aiming for. >> is that enough time, seriously, though, we all are amused by some of the folly that goes on and the antics on capitol hill, on both sides and depends who is in power, you know. >> of course. >> fully conceding that,
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michael. the fact is, this is, you know, a sixth of the american economy, health care is more personal than anything we deal with, and the house bill would have, according to the cbo, disenfranchise taken off insurance, 23 million americans who have it now. >> let's remember a couple of things about that number. you're talking about insurance on the books. if you're a medicaid patient, a place why you have no options, on the obamacare exchange where you have no options, that coverage isn't necessarily access to care, which is our priority. the other priority is lowering costs and the cbo confirmed the house passed bill would lower costs. >> lower costs at what expense, though? to be continued, michael. all in good fun. great to have you here. it is always great to have an excuse to play more john boehner. thank you very much for that. oming up, status report, a special counsel robert mueller prepares to head to capitol hill to update members on his russia investigation, what has the senate intel committee learned
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about that probe in recent days? we'll talk to senator mark warner, the ranking democrat on the committee, joining me next live. you're watching "andrea mitchell reports" on msnbc. we're not professional athletes. but that doesn't mean we're giving up. i'm in this for me. for me. along with diet and exercise, farxiga helps lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. lowering a1c by up to 1.2 points. do not take if allergic to farxiga. if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction such as rash, swelling, difficulty breathing or swallowing,
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warner met with bob mueller last week. thank you very much for being with us. do you have clear lanes of authority that you're not going to do something which has happened in the past with the ollie north investigation in iran/contra. that conviction, not saying this is getting there, was overturned because there was a crossover of authorities between the special counsel and the committee. >> absolutely. we want to make sure that there is -- was appropriate deconfliction, special counsel mu mueller has a criminal investigation, we will move forward on that. we, the bipartisan effort, is a counterintelligence, a fact finding, it is to see, which i believe we have proven to everybody would perhaps the exception of mr. trump, that the russians interfered massively in our elections. we don't know what level of contact if any and collaboration if any was there between affiliates of the trump campaign d the russians. that's what we're looking through now.
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>> the president tweeted last friday that he is being investigated for firing the fbi director, et cetera, then his -- one of his attorneys tried to spin that out over the weekend, that he wasn't really referring to acknowledgement he's under investigation. can you say whether the president is being investigated, whether this has expanded past where it was when jim comey was still in office. >> i'm not going to weigh in on what the special counsel is doing or not doing. but the stuff out of the white house and tweets, you can't make some of the stuff up. >> on a more serious note, are they attempts, including that tweet, to try to intimidate, other mr. rosenstein, the deputy ag, or bob mueller or both? >> i thought a while back the administration couldn't surprise me. they fired jim comey. then they at least floated rumors about firing special counsel mueller, then floated resumers about firing deputy attorney general rosenstein and then when last week we had the
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attorney general in front of us, we asked why i thought was a simple question, it confirmed for us that you're not talking about potential pardons and the attorney general wouldn't even give us a definitive no on that. he refused to answer. i'm not sure what all is going on in the white house. main thing our job is to just follow the facts, tomorrow we'll have a hearing where we're having the fbi and the department of homeland security come in because it has been publicly reported that many, many states voting systems were under attack in 2016, now they didn't -- the russians didn't change any vote totals, what concerns me is only two states, arizona and illinois publicly acknowledged that. i would like more states to acknowledge the fact that they were under assault in 2016. not to relitigate 2016, but to make sure that we are fully on guard for 2018. >> in fact, there are reports that 39, as many as 39 states, an extraordinary proportion of our states were under attack.
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>> i won't -- i think there is a lot of numbers out there, that's why i'm hoping tomorrow we get from dhs or fbi more clarity. i'm not sure we're kept safer by trying to keep the number of states that were under attack in 2016 secret in some way. >> do you have concerns that the president seems to be resisting acknowledging how widespread this was and doesn't seem to acknowledge that russia was even engaged in this. he seems more concerned about defending his own vote totals and his own claims of voter fraud. >> it is baffling to me that you've got -- when you've got the complete unanimous opinion of the intelligence community, and candidly, i -- all of the senators i know, democrats and republicans alike, all acknowledge the russians, you know, interfered in our system. senators like marco rubio and others on the intelligence committee are saying let's make sure they don't do it again.
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the president somehow continues to deny this. i just don't understand it. but we're going to continue plunging ahead, because at the end of the day, the american public deserves the truth. >> senator whitehouse was quoted, i believe on morning joe, and today discussed the fact that mike flynn may have been lying to the fbi investigators from his office in the west wing. an office once inhabited by the likes of brent scowcroft and condoleezza rice and henry kissinger. can you confirm that? >> listen, i'm not sure what the status of mr. flynn is. we have got to subpoena out to him, we received some information. clearly, though, lawyers for general flynn have been asking everybody in town for immunity. i don't have any idea whether general flynn at this point is working with the fbi or not. but clearly because of the
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number of contacts that general flynn had with the russians, with the turks, maybe with others now, it has been reported, i think it is important to get whatever information that he has out into both the investigation and into any criminal proceedings. >> and so far, are you getting along with your colleague, senator barr? >> senator barr and i have a very strong working relationship, we're friends, we're both under enormous pressure. there are some on his side that want this just to go away. there are some on the democratic side that think the president is guilty before we finish the investigation. and our job is to keep this train on the track running forward. i think for the most part, we're doing a pretty good job. >> senator warner, thank you very much for being with us. coming up, working lunch, a group of democratic senats g on the hunt for the secret republican health care bill. come with us as we chase it down too. they do come up empty handed. more on that next here on msnbc.
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with. >> do they have a whole bill? >> they would not confirm that they are working on the bill. >> the scavenger hunt on capitol hill. that was chris murphy and colleagues cory booker and brian schatz moment ago with our kasie hunt at the congressional budget office. they were trying to find the republican senate health care bill. let's get the inside scoop from jonathan capehart, msnbc contributor, and karen tumulty, "washington post" political correspondent. it is a stunt but there's a point to be made, jonathan? >> yes, because this is all being done in secret, behind closed doors. in the same manner republicans criticized democrats of doing back when the affordable care act was being negotiated. the rub here for democrats is i think you may have shown this earlier with chuck schumer asking mcconnell will there be time given for us to offer
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amendments and not getting an a confirmation that will happen. >> the republicans are supposed to be briefing everyone tomorrow, karen, a briefing for republican side. clearly the details are going to leak out. >> yeah. and i think at this point the calculation, and yes, it is hypocritical because hypocrisy is the seat made of power in washington. i think they have decided that having people criticize the process is much less damaging in the long run than having, you know, the other side talking about the number of people losing their coverage or some of the other unpopular aspects of the actual bill. >> now, "the washington post," your colleagues also wrote, phil rucker i guess about how the white house is beginning to govern more and more in secret. we are expecting a sean spicer briefing today, it will be the first in i think a week, and jop
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athan, this long tradition that goes back decades of having daily briefings, not always on camera but in recent years, definitely, on camera, has really gone by the boards. >> yeah. a lot of long-standing traditions have gone by the wayside since president trump was inaugurated. sean spicer's briefings already are remarkably short. i mean, i remember josh earnest's briefings and previous briefings, would go on for a rather long time. >> until the issues were exhausted. >> exactly. and instead i've watched briefings that last as little as 10, 15 minutes. great that sean spicer will stand before the camera and take questions but for me how long is he going to stand there and what is he going to answer? at some point i wonder if the trump administration is trying to frustrate the press enough that they just decide, you know what, it's better that we just not do this because it's a waste of our time to begin with.
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>> karen, what about the reports that he's going to transition now himself at least to take a higher job, so-called, and have someone else at the podium? >> well, of course sean spicer's demise in this job has been predicted on practically a weekly basis, but it does sound like this is on the verge of happening. and the other thing to know about the briefings is that there's one important perp in that audience and it's the president of the united states. he's obsessed with the briefings. and in a lot of ways shortening them and taking them like that is in part to keep the commander in chief from getting all worked up. >> in the state department we went weeks without a briefing and now they have twice a week briefings, which is half as many as we used to have. but now also the subject of ivanka and jared kushner, ivanka trump, jared kushner, ivanka on the hill today talking about family leave and some of her issues. jared on his w to the middle
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east t negotiate between the israelis and the palestinians. >> yeah. >> why not? >> the question there. this is a family affair. this is what we're learning about the trump presidency that all of the big important jobs -- i would argue that arab/israeli peace is a big important job. it's all being done by family members. and i think whether they're successful or not, the idea that unelected people who are family members of the president, who are giving these huge portfolios is something that i think should make the american people uncomfortable. i just don't know whether at this point they care enough. >> that is the question. >> jonathan capehart, karen, great to see you. we'll be right back. does psoriasis ever get in the way of a touching moment? if you have moderate to severe psoriasis, you can embrace
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and that does it for this edition of "andrea mitchell reports." thanks for being with us. follow the show online, on facebook and on twitter @mitchellreports. craig melvin is up next on msnbc. hi, craig. >> you have become quite the prolific twitterer, andrea mitchell. tweeter, i should say. good to see you. >> thank you. >> good tuesday afternoon. craig melvin at msnbc headquarters in new york. three big stories we're following this hour. number one, trumptest high-stakes elections in georgia and south carolina happening today. can democrats pullff two major
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upsets as president's approval ratings tank? to new lows. also, health care battle. senate republicans pushing for a vote on their plan to repeal obamacare before the july 4th break. i'll ask one democrat how her party is trying to fight back. and pressing questions. reports the white house press secretary's days at the podium are numbered. we'll see if sean spicer talks about those rumors of a major shake nextel cup the white house communications team when he takes to the podium for the first time in more than a week. that's going to happen this hour. but we start with that runoff election in georgia, which touches just about every rail of politics right now -- health care, anger at washington, and those approval ratings that we just talked about earlier today. this is what house speaker paul ryan said about a republican victory tonight. >> what does this vote in georgia mean tonight? >> well,

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